Welcome to the 6th Annual General Meeting of the CAG.

Thank you all for making the effort to attend; I know some of you have travelled a distance to be here & it is much appreciated

I should start by thanking Hale Barns CC & John Petch for allowing us the use of his facilities & for allowing us to put money over the bar in the depths of winter!!

The past year has seen some of the wettest conditions for cricket in the last 100 years and it is a great credit to all those involved that any cricket was played at all on some weekends this summer. It has tested the skills & ingenuity of the most experienced groundsmen. We all want to see cricket played whenever possible but unfortunately you canít cut water nor can you roll it away!!

I think that many junior sections of clubs have suffered most with some losing up to 50% of their fixtures in what is already a very compressed season. Unfortunately this leads to disillusionment amongst the juniors & their parents which could have long term effects on some clubs. It is they that have to play on the uncovered wickets & are sacrificed for senior weekend cricket.

Our IOG courses have by & large been successful again this year although the uptake for the Autumn/Winter course at Toft at the end of August was disappointing. I cannot stress enough the importance of this stage of the cricket season; what you do & how you do it at the end of season can have big implications on how pitches play the following year. This September/October has been extremely unfavourable for renovations and I know of some clubs who have now decided not to do anything because of the weather.I hope you all saw Paul Agarís excellent advice we sent out in early October. All is not lost as with careful management and extra care & time in pitch preparation things will probably be ok. Let us hope for a decent early autumn next season. So continue to maintain your squares over the winter with as much aeration as you can manage.

The Intermediate/advanced 2 day session held here at hale barns CC was very successful attended by 10 cheshire candidates who now have a more in depth knowledge of cricket groundsmanship. Our thanks to the 4Cís for funding this to the tune of £2.5k!!

Something brighter now!! Over the last few months the committee has had a serious look at what the CAG is delivering for itís members & what we think it should be delivering. You could call it a strategic review!! In our opinion we need to get back to basics and be groundsmen delivering help & advice to those that want/need it.We have surplus funds & this was seen as the best way of putting something constructive back into the membership in the form ofTraining, Education & skills

We wanted to try and help the smaller clubs with more limited resources and we felt the county league clubs are by & large looking after themselves hence the desire not to work from the top down!! It must be stressed that all clubs should avail themselves of the CAG services should they feel they need to!!

To this end we have put together an OUTREACH programme. This entails the MBCCL & the CACL nominating 10 clubs each as eligible for a consultation from one of our EWCB Pitch Advisors. This will include a site visit,machinery assessment,soil core analysis and a short report giving advice & recommendations. This service is subsidised by the CAG & like the NHS is free at the point of delivery to those clubs; any soil analysis recommended or excessive mileage incurred will be the responsibility of the club.

There was also a small amount of cash left over from the ECB Premier League PQS project; this has been channelled into 2 MBCCL clubs and the outstanding costs of the reports will be covered by the league, the 4Cís & the club itself.

So I hope you agree that we are trying to put our resources to the best use in terms of training,education & skills; we are still on the look out for additional equipment especially another scarifier/linear aerator to complement our existing machinery.

We are extremely lucky to have so much support, especially financially, from the 4Cís & the CCB; our ideas & plans are regularly aired at 4Cís meetings & are met with much enthusiasm in general. Many other associations have to be self funding in terms of training & machinery etc with members having to pay a large amount for courses which for us are completely free.

Enough from me; keep up the good work; have a merry christmas & a peaceful & prosperous new year